Minnesota United FC and its bid group has been accepted by Major League Soccer to become the next expansion franchise in the league. Although I write for Soccer Newsday on general MLS topics as well as Sporting Kansas City, I must momentarily step away from any journalistic endeavor and say…I’m SO, SO, SO excited!
You see, I grew up in suburban Twin Cities, and in fact, quite close (about a 20 minute drive) to the current home of the NASL’s Minnesota United FC, the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota.
From when I was 6 or 7, I went to games of the then Minnesota Thunder. When I was 10 or so, I attended the opening ceremonies of the biggest soccer tournament in North America (or maybe it’s the Western Hemisphere?), the USA Cup. During that opening ceremony, I saw Pele from afar. Yes, Pele.
When I was a bit older, I would then play in the USA Cup tourney in the hot, humid, mosquito-ridden summers of Minnesota (that is, July), but it could not have been more fun or thrilling.
It was up in Blaine, Minnesota, at the NSC (or Nessie), that I’m pretty sure I fell in love with soccer. Clearly, soccer’s been part of my life since I was a wee little lass, as has been the NASL franchise that’s based in the Twin Cities.
Henceforth, I would hope you can see why I’m so excited for an MLS franchise in Minnesota. Not only will it revive the Twin Cities area, but more and more older Gen Y-ers (I don’t like saying Millennial) like me who grew up playing soccer will be able to go for a game downtown (Lord willing!), among many other reasons.
I always look forward to visiting friends and family in Minnesota, but now the added excitement of watching an MLS team where I grew up is that much more incentive to go to the homeland more often.
And although there are many details to be sifted through before the Minnesota team takes its first kick, I’m so thrilled for the Minnesota United FC organization at stepping up to the pitch ready to play in MLS.